This election day, US officials are hoping for a vote of confidence on cybersecurity. Hackers at the Defcon cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas on Friday took on voting machines again, after showing how easy it was to break into election machines at last year’s gathering. This time around, officials from the US Department of Homeland Security were on hand to learn directly from hackers who find problems with election security. “We’ve been partners with Defcon for years on a lot of various different issues, so we see a lot of value in doing things like this,” Jeanette Manfra, the DHS’s top cybersecurity official, said at Defcon. In her speech, Manfra invited hackers at Defcon to come find her after to talk more about election security. “We’d love it if you worked for us, we’d love it if you worked with us,” she said.
This exercise is particularly relevant given the US midterm elections are just three months away. Election security has become a major concern not just for the US, but democracies around the world. Along with the US, hackers have also targeted elections in France and Kenya.
… One machine, a Diebold TSX model that had been brought in from Stark County, Ohio — a battleground state — was compromised to show viral reaction GIFs instead of the original voting screen. A hacker who went by “echo2” and declined to give his real name said he put up the GIFs because he was bored.
He had opened up and closed the machine without showing any signs on the outside.
“You can mess with the hardware and no one would even notice,” the hacker said. “Should you be trusting your vote with these? I don’t think so.”